Lorenzo De La Riva of Folsom H.S.
By Pablo Di Maria
Today is National Letter of Intent Day for high school seniors in sports other than football, as athletes formally accept college scholarship offers. The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters). In return, the institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters). Basic penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.
Here’s a list of all the California wrestlers that will be furthering their education in college. Some will be continuing their college career after spending a year or two in the junior college level.
Air Force – Ricky Padilla (Northview H.S.) 157/165
Arizona State – Anthony Valencia (St. John Bosco H.S.) 174
Arizona State – Zahid Valencia (St. John Bosco H.S.) 184
Arizona State – Chance Eskam (Carlsbad H.S. 2014) 285
Army – Wyatt Wyckoff (Paradise H.S.) 149
Army – Nigel Ruiz (Bishop Amat H.S.) 157
Boise State – Adrian Salas (Clovis H.S. via Clackamas College) 184
Cal Poly – Josh Cortez (Temecula Valley H.S.) 141/149
Cal Poly – Andrew Morgan (Fountain Valley H.S.) 174/184
Cal State Bakersfield – Carlos Herrera (Bakersfield H.S.) 133/141
Cal State Bakersfield – Jacob Thalin (Santa Teresa H.S.) 157/165
Cal State Bakersfield – Matt Penyacsek (Gilroy H.S.) 174/184
Cal State Bakersfield – Mark Penyacsek (Gilroy H.S.) 197
Cal State Bakersfield – Lorenzo De La Riva (Folsom H.S.) 165/174
Cal State Bakersfield – Dominick Balmer (Wood creek H.S.) 285
Columbia – Emmanuel Lair (Poway H.S.) 133/141
Drexel – Isaiah Hokit (Clovis H.S.) 149/157
Grand Canyon – Kenneth Moore (Hoover H.S.) 165/174
Grand Canyon – Ralph Tovar (Poway H.S.) 149
Iowa State – Joseph Dominguez (Northview H.S.) 149
North Dakota State – Nico Colunga (Oakdale H.S.) 133
Northern Illinois – Angel Velasquez (Pitman H.S.) 133
Northern Illinois – McCoy Kent (Enochs H.S.) 149/157
Stanford – Austin Flores (Clovis North H.S.) 197
Utah Valley University – Khristian Olivas (Clovis H.S.) 141
Austin Flores of Clovis North H.S.
Cal Baptist – Dominick Kincaid (Clovis H.S.) 174
Colorado Mesa – Eric Reyes (Yucaipa H.S.) 133
Colorado State Pueblo – Jordan Jimenez (Heritage H.S.) 141/149
Chadron State – Michael Colello (Temecula Valley H.S.) 197
Chadron State – Kai Dill (Buchanan H.S.) 285
Lindenwood – Robert Chism (Downey H.S. via Cerritos College) 285
San Francisco State – Mike Marshall (San Clemente H.S.) 174
Coastal Guard Academy – Zachary Ruybal (Del Oro H.S.) 141
Luther – David Padilla (Dinuba H.S.) 285
NYU – Kyle Paterson (Servite H.S.) 285
NYU – Michael Wong (Terra Linda H.S.) 141
NYU – Anthony Rubio (Newark Memorial H.S. via Chabot College) 149
Trinity – Enrique Loya (St. Margaret’s H.S.) 197
Briar Cliff – Dominic Fratangelo (Palma H.S.) 149/157
Brewton-Parker – Camron Garmon (Marina H.S.) 165/174
Doane – Andrew Singer (Moorpark H.S. via Fresno City) 285
Doane – Josue Solis (Sanger H.S. via Fresno City) 157/165
Embry-Riddle – Dylan Passalacqua (MLK H.S.) 149
Graceland – Tyler Howell (Royal H.S.) 174
Lindenwood-Belleville – Michael Rangel (Buena Park H.S.) 125
Menlo – Stone Escobedo (Fountain Valley H.S.) 197
Midland – Abel Avila (Alhambra H.S. via Notre Dame College) 149
Midland – David Moran (Alhambra H.S. via Rio Hondo College) 149/157
Midland – Hugo Perez (Alhambra H.S. via East Los Angeles College) 125/133
Andrew Morgan of Fountain Valley H.S.
By Pablo Di Maria
At 48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), 63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Amanda Hendey, Beaumont, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) and 75 kg/165 lbs. – Jackie Cataline, Alhambra, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), will be competing in the Pan American Championship Qualifier, set for Santiago, Chile, April 24-26. The event features the nations from North, Central and South America. This is the last qualifying event for the 2015 Pan American Games, which will be hosted in Toronto, Canada, July 15-18.
Currently, the United States have only qualified the 48-kilogram weight class in the women’s freestyle division. Amanda Hendey and Jackie Cataline need to place top five in their respective weight classes to qualify the 63 and 75 kilogram weight class to the Pan Am Games in Canada.
Victoria Anthony (Marina H.S.) has become a sensation at home and in the national scene. While at Simon Fraser University, Victoria was the first ever four-time Women’s Collegiate National Champion. In the national scene, Victoria was the 2014 Pan American Championships gold medalist, 2014 Cerro Pelado International champion and Third in Ukrainian Memorial International in 2013. She finished Third in U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2012 and was Second in U.S. World Team Trials in 2014.
Amanda Hendey (Beaumont H.S.) will compete in her first international event since 2013. A 2015 Women’s Collegiate Champion an alumnus of King College, Hendey was second in the Pan American Championships and the U.S. Open in 2011. In 2013, she finished fourth in the World Team Trials and fourth in the U.S. Open.
Jackie Cataline (Norco H.S.) is currently the No. 2 wrestler in the U.S. at 75 kilograms. A Phenom in high school, Jackie was the 2006 ASICS High School Wrestler of the Year. That same year as a high school senior, Jackie was third in the U.S. World Team Trials, Second in the U.S. Nationals, Pan American Championships gold medalist, Junior Nationals champion, and a FILA Junior Nationals champion. After a seven-year absence from the sport that she loved due to family matters, Jackie came back and compete internationally in 2013; she finished third in the U.S. World Team Trials and second in the U.S. Open. In 2014, she finished as the runner-up in the U.S. World Team Trials and the U.S. Open.
Good luck to our California athletes as they will be representing the United States in this great event.
Event Schedule (one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone)
Saturday, April 25
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Qualification Rounds (Women’s freestyle, all weights)
6:00 p.m. – Finals (Women’s freestyle, all weights)
By Pablo Di Maria
A native of Highlands, California. Chris Mecate of Old Dominion became a Division-I All-American for the first time in his college career at 141 pounds this past season. He had previously qualified for the National tournament in 2014 and 2013. In the three years at Old Dominion, Chris has accumulated an 89-29 record and has placed twice in the tough Southern Scuffle tournament and fifth in the 52th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands.*
As a high school wrestler, Chris won the California state tournament in 2011 and was a three-time medal winner. He completed his scholastic wrestling with a 156-17 career record and was third in the 2011 Senior Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
*Midlands is considered by many as the most prestigious tournament in the nation. Many Olympians, World Champions, National Champions and All-Americans from all divisions have wrestled in the tournament.
DiMaria -At what age did you began wrestling?
Mecate – I began wrestling right before my 7th birthday in 1st grade at Team South California at the Warrior Center in Cypress.
DiMaria -What sets Old Dominion apart from other wrestling programs?
Mecate – At ODU, we have a tighter bond than most teams, reason being a majority of our starters are transplants from a bunch of different states and that forces us to form a tighter bond because most of the guys don’t have many friends when they first get here, so we rely on each other a lot more. Also, we are a very young team and I’ve witnessed the culture change from my freshman year when some guy’s goals were to start or maybe qualify to the NCAA tourney, and now a lot of young guys are coming in working to All-American and become NCAA champs right off of the bat.
DiMaria -Of all your teammates, past and present, from whom have you learned the most and why?
Mecate – I think the training partner that I have learned from the most is Alex Cisneros. We have been training together since about 4th grade and he was my first real training partner where we were pushed past our breaking points almost every workout, and even though it’s been awhile, some of our workouts were some of the most grueling I’ve ever done.
DiMaria -Of the three wrestling styles (Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Folk style), which one do you enjoy the most?
Mecate – I definitely enjoy folk style the most because the is the style that I am most active in and because of the way I wrestle (lots of funk and rolling around) it definitely suits me better, but I think if I trained freestyle full time that I would enjoy that more because I’m good at scoring quick and I have solid defense.
DiMaria -Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
Mecate – I used to get all pumped up before all of my matches, but now before matches I’ll go and find a quiet area and just practice breathing techniques for about ten minutes. I’ve found that it helps me slow my breathing down and clear my mind, which I’ve found more recently lets me perform better.
DiMaria -What is the strangest thing that happened to you during a wrestling match?
Mecate – One of the more strange things that I can remember happening to me was my RS Freshman year at Southern Scuffle, I was in on a shot and coming out of the backdoor on a wrestler from Citadel, and as he kicked out his shoe came right off and I was holding onto it just staring at him.
DiMaria -What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received in the sport?
Mecate – I’ve received some great advice from many of the mentors I’ve had in this sport, but my favorite advice in wrestling is the advice that applies to life as well, and one of the pieces advice that I find myself constantly resorting back to is that, in wrestling, just like in life, you’re going to face obstacles and sometimes things aren’t going to go your way, but it’s not the losses that matter, it is how you react to them that counts. There are things that you can’t control and you can’t worry about that, just focus on what you can do and the task at hand and everything will work itself out.
DiMaria -What do you believe California needs to do to get more All-Americans in Division-1?
Mecate – I think more kids need to be willing to leave the state of CA for different competition and so they can get more exposure to more college coaches. CA is such a tough state that there are a lot of kids that do not do as well as they would like at the state tournament but are much better than state placers in other states, so going to national tournaments will allow them to show college coaches that you’re just as good if not better than the other guys from other states even though they may be multiple time state champs. Also, I think more guys who wrestled in college should come back to coach in CA so HS kids know what it takes to wrestle D-I and will at least be aware if that would be something they would like to do. It would also help HS kids get a feel of what college wrestling pressure is like, and allow them to excel at a younger age and prep them for college competition when it is their time.
DiMaria – Who were your wrestling heroes while growing up?
Mecate – I had multiple wrestling heroes growing up, but my all-time No. 1 was Stephen Abas. I loved his everything from his technique to his flow of his style and mat persona. And I was able to work with him in HS for a couple years and it was a dream come true.
DiMaria -How did it fell to have stand on the medal podium and being recognize as an All-American?
Mecate – It was an amazing feeling knowing that something that I’ve dedicated so much of my life to was being recognized and after my poor performance my sophomore year and an injury over the summer I was able to overcome some adversity and be able to get the job done at NCAA’s this year, when not to many people thought I would be able too.
DiMaria -Who was your toughest opponent last season?
Mecate – I’d have to say Mitchell Port because of how solid he was. He was able to stay in good position the whole time and keep such a high pace the whole match that I was never able to beat him.
DiMaria – What are your goals for next season?
Mecate - My goals for next season are to end my senior year with a NCAA Championship and continue to make Deans List for both semesters, as I know it gets hard sometimes for seniors to push themselves academically when they know they are about to graduate. Plain and simple.
DiMaria – What’s been your favorite class on campus? Favorite professor?
Mecate – My favorite class that I have taken at ODU has to either be between Music, Culture & Media or Communication Theories. I like MC&M because I love learning about the different type of genres of music and what helped form them and the social changes that either inspired the music or vice versa. Communication theories is a cool class because you really see the different types of communication and how it affects individuals and the masses.
DiMaria – What is your major and dream job?
Mecate – My major is communications and my dream job is to become a professional mixed martial artists but after that I would like to own my own coffee shop and yoga studio one day and do some coaching during my free time.
DiMaria -What’s something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
Mecate – I’m really big into music and coffee. Those are two things I’m really passionate about and when I’m not wrestling I am listening to all kinds of music from Marvin Gaye, to Sublime, to Snoop Dogg and everything in between. I’m fascinated by how much music has an effect on our culture. And I started drinking coffee in college and I became really interested in the whole roasting process and how beans are selected and everything and that is one of the reasons why I would like to own my own coffee shop one day.
By Pablo Di Maria
A native of Apple Valley, Minnesota. Jacob was a sensational wrestler in high school that was getting recruited by all the top college teams. He competed for national powerhouse, Apple Valley High School, where he was the captain his junior and senior year; he compiled an 80-3 record as an upperclassman (48-1 as a senior, 32-2 as a junior) and an undefeated 16-0 in conference in the process. Jacob was a three-time All-State – winning state title as a senior, going runner-up as a junior and placing fourth as a freshman – and four-time all-conference and section champion. In his senior season he was a State Champion, Fila Junior Greco-Roman National Champion and finished senior year as an Asics All-American, ranked third in the country at 171 pounds and top-50 recruit overall.
This past season, Jacob became an All-American for the first time in D-2 for Coach Zalesky and California Baptist University. Only a sophomore, Jacob is going to be a strong candidate to win a national title next season.
DiMaria-Jake, at what age did you started wrestling?
Waste- I started wrestling at the age of 4. My dad seen a youth registration sign up and decided it might be a way to get some energy out of me.
DiMaria-What made you resolve to go to Cal Baptist?
Waste- One of my good friends up in San Jose (Bill Mitchell) was contacted by Arsen saying that they were interested in me. Coach Arsen and Zalesky came out to watch me compete at the US Open and we set up a visit after that. I fell in love with the campus and the people right away.
DiMaria-How is your relationship with Coaches Zalesky, Aleksanyan and Nicola?
Waste-The relationship I have with the coaches is awesome. Being so far from my family is tough. These guys know how I operate and know how to keep me on track while being able to have fun at the same time.
DiMaria-What was going through your head when you won the match to become a college All-American?
Waste-Before the match I was still mad at myself from the loss before. After winning my All-American match I was a little relieved that I made it on the podium, but that’s not what I was there for. It was a bitter-sweet feeling.
DiMaria-How intense are the workouts inside the Cal Baptist wrestling room?
Waste-They are intense. Zalesky has been doing this for long enough though that he knows when to taper and when to give a hard push. I put all trust in his practices.
DiMaria-Why wrestle in the D-2 level?
Waste- The division thing doesn’t make a difference to me. I love this sport and I just want to compete. Cal Baptist was a good fit for me.
DiMaria- What makes you different from other wrestlers?
Waste-Tough Question. One thing that I’m constantly told is that I’m a “Gamer”. I’m relaxed under pressure and I can usually find a way to win. Id like to think that I’m pretty mat savvy as well.
DiMaria-What does your diet consist of during the season?
Waste-I don’t really cut weight at all to make 184. I never liked cutting weight. I usually eat what I want under moderation of course.
DiMaria- What was the best advice you were ever given?
Waste- Best advice would be “Love the Fight”.. given to me by Brandon Paulson. That man knows how to motivate people and I’ve always kept that motto in my head.
DiMaria- What is your biggest challenge, and how are you managing this challenge?
Waste-I think my biggest challenge is just like any other student athlete. Keeping a good moderation of athletics, school and social life.
DiMaria-How do you keep yourself in top notch shape?
Waste-Lifting and wrestling. Zalesky knows what best for us so I try to stick to whatever he says.
DiMaria- What do you think is the toughest part of wrestling?
Waste- When you think about wrestling you have to understand that you have to tell the other guy “I’m going to beat you today, in front of all of these people”. That take a lot of guts. That’s a pretty hard thing to do if you think about it.
DiMaria-Do you miss Minnesota?
Waste-I miss Minnesota every day. I miss my dogs and family. But at the end of the day I’m out here to do a job and my friends and coaches make it easy to not be homesick.
DiMaria-What are your future goals on and off the mat?
Waste-I want to win and NCAA title. All last year I was training MMA and I think I’d like to go back to that. As a profession I’d like to be in the FBI.
Jacob Thalin of Santa Teresa (CC)
By Pablo Di Maria
Two-time CIF California state place winner, Jacob Thalin, has decided to stay local and compete for the Road Runners of Cal State Bakersfield.
After attending the campus and meeting up with Coaches Mike Mendoza, Riley Orozco and Jeff Silveira, Jacob knew Bakersfield was the place where he wanted to make a name for himself in the college scene.
“When I found out that they had the classes for the major, Global Intelligence and National Security, it made my decision to sign with them more comfortable.” Said Jacon Thalin “Hanging out with the team and seeing their strong brotherly bond and hard work they put on the mat every day, made me wanted to be part of the team.”
Jacob’s scholastic career included being a rare four-time Central Coast Section place winner and ended the regular season his senior year with a 45-1 record. Jacob is expected to either wrestle at 157 or 165 pounds in college.
“I hope to be an All-American and National champion for the Road Runners. I want to help my team achieve success not just in the PAC-12 but in the National tournament as well”
Jacob is an ambitious individual that has his priorities in life already set.
“I hope to one day work in the law enforcement organization like the FBI or CIA and to grow as a person and leader to meet the challenges that life will bring.”
Jacob recently placed 5th in the always tough USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa at 160 pounds.
Josh Hokit of Clovis (CS) with Drexel Coaches Zach Sheaffer and Jimmy Sheptock
By Pablo Di Maria
With two wrestlers from California wrestling for the Dragons, as well as Coach Matt Azevedo having ties to the Golden State, Josh’s decision to verbal to Drexel was a no brainer.
“My brother going there is part of what influenced my decision, but I also really believe in what the coaches are building there. I plan on wrestling at 184 in college and I will have an NCAA finalist, Jimmy Sheptock to work out with, plus All American Zach Sheaffer.” Said Josh Hokit
Josh success on the wrestling mats, has attracted many college coaches wanting his services. He recently placed fourth in the tough FloNational tournament in Pennsylvania and was a state runner-up in the California state tournament.
“I have had quite a few schools show interest in me. My top choices beside Drexel was Minnesota and Oklahoma. Jay Robinson came to our house last year and that was a highlight of my wrestling career. Dylan Ness has been my favorite wrestler for years. Minnesota produces All Americans yearly, but I believe if enough top wrestlers in the country can buy into Coach Azevedo’s vision, Drexel can do the same thing. All the coaches at Drexel have had a ton of personal success, so they know how to get there. It’s a matter of me putting in the work that they ask me to. Plus Drexel gives me a lot advantages after my wrestling career that most Universities won’t.”
Josh will be the clear favorite to win a state title next year for the Cougars at either 170 or 182 pounds. Clovis High will be shooting for their 6th straight state title in row next season, and once again be ranked top 10 in the nation.
Drexel University finished 6 out of 16 teams in the tough EIWA Conference, and qualified four wrestlers to the National tournament last season.
Daishea Jaime of San Dimas (SS)
By Pablo Di Maria